And now, for something completely different…

Last week I began a short break from the rat race, taking a couple months off from work.

Soooo….I went shopping on Monday; golfing on Tuesday; sailing on Wednesday; woke up at anchor Thursday morning; back to the lake Friday for two nights on the boat; rafted up with Kurt & Kevin on Dancer, and Marty & Sue (yay!!) on Caribbean Hug Saturday night; made it back home Sunday night to watch my Seahawks and make pizza; and then headed to Seattle for a visit this past Monday.

I’ll try to get my sheila365 groove back. :)

IMG_6150.JPG

I kind of zoned out there.

My posts for the last few months have been a tad infrequent.  And it’s been two weeks since I last posted. I think I have just been decompressing.  I have had a great summer – spending time with family, and then coming back to Austin for a couple of downtime weeks to play with Monte.  Somewhere, in there, the summer has nearly slipped by.  That’s ok, though.  Onward!

Yesterday Sue & Marty joined us on the boat for a windless day on the lake.  We headed directly for our cove, set anchor, jumped in and floated until just before sunset.  A great day!  Here is a shot of the blinding sun on its way to the horizon. IMG_5768

From a distance.

Julie flew home Wednesday to join her dad and brothers on a long-planned climb to the top of the 14K+ foot peak that is Mount Rainier.  I can only aspire to do something like this one day.  For now, I am watching their ascent via satellite-based location technology.  Amazing.

Screen Shot 2014-07-10 at 8.49.54 PM

Points 1 – 4 on the map are the last 4 pings they’ve sent on their way up.   I will watch all night and all day tomorrow.  Can’t wait to see the pics!

SoCo birthday night.

I went downtown tonight to celebrate Laura’s birthday.  We ate at Perla’s, and strolled up and down South Congress til it was time to call it a night.

champers night cap at Hotel San Jose

IMG_4899the (blurryish) soco view towards downtown… IMG_4921A reflection of the Frost Bank Tower on the building next door… IMG_4926Happy Birthday, Laura!

Checking out the Falls.

Today I had the chance to go for a small road trip.  Just a 90 minute drive, each way, up to Snoqualmie Falls.   I went for it.  I packed mom along with me, with her wheel chair for maximum ease of checking out each nook and cranny of this naturally beautiful place.  And we were off…headed east to visit one of the most popular scenic places in Washington State.  It turned out that Noreen and David were coming west over the pass from Eastern Washington from a wedding, and we were able to time it so that we met for lunch at the beautiful Salish Lodge at the falls.  The flow was high, due to snow melt… swelling the falls to a thunderous level.  You could feel the water falling, you could hear it beating the rocks below, and you could feel the spray 300′ up from the bottom.

I can’t tell you how pretty it was, so i’ll just share 2 shots:

IMG_4442

and a panorama:

IMG_4456

An awesomely beautiful day.

Saturday!

I spent the night at Noreen’s last night.  This morning, she finished another glass window / work of art.   This one is for her own house.  She does beautiful work!

IMG_4071

Then I toodled back over to mom’s.  This afternoon, I introduced her to geo-caching, and she enjoyed it.  We found 3 out of 4 “park and grab” caches that we searched for on the way to the Harbor Fest downtown.   She stayed in the car and pointed me to where the GPS said to look, and then we opened up the cache’s together in the car.

Then we headed downtown to take in the Harbor Fest.  This is a shot of the boardwalk downtown along the waterfront.

IMG_4107

Then, later, I headed for the airport to pick up my sweetie, who is joining me here for the last week of the month.  It was fitting that my favorite mountain was poking above every horizon on my drive to the airport tonight.

IMG_4098

Good day.

Today was a pretty full day.   The weather was supposed to be colder and drizzly, but it turned out to be another lovely day with blue skies.   Keep ‘em coming.

Mom and I went to the Armed Forces Day parade, one of the oldest and longest in the country.

IMG_3887

I squeezed in a little geo-caching during the afternoon, and then headed over to Seattle to meet my sisters and spent a few hours on the waterfront.    We ducked into this little corner o’heaven to watch the Sounders game (win!).

IMG_3986

And then caught the ferry home.   Pretty views from the stern.

IMG_4009

 

The circle of life.

Today we met Julie’s new dog, Blake.  She’s a good doggie, and I know will bring much happiness into eachothers lives.

IMG_3264 Today we also learned that another one of our canine friends, Kokopelli (aka “the Admiral”), left us for the big boat in the sky.  Farewell, Koko, you were a great boat dog, and a good friend to Marty and Sue for many years.  Sail on…. we’ll miss you.1-DSCN3701

April 8 – Our last night.

Tuesday, April 8.

This morning we dinghied over to shore to tour the shops and artists’ wares at Trellis Bay.

Welcome to Trellis Bay.

Welcome to Trellis Bay.

IMG_3104

One of the bathyspheres that they cut away to make the fireballs for the full-moon parties.

IMG_3099

We missed Full Moon by about a week this trip.  Next trip we'll definitely have to book during a Full Moon!

We missed Full Moon by about a week this trip. Next trip we’ll definitely have to book during a Full Moon!

IMG_3114 IMG_3118 IMG_3120

On the sail back to Fat Hog’s Bay today, Susanne was at the helm and Laura worked the lines by herself.  They’ve both done really well with learning the ins and out of the boat, and they’re bonifide sailors now!

We got to the marina in time to finish up the closing paperwork on the charter.   We’ll spend the night on the dock, since our flight leaves at 7:30 AM tomorrow.  It’s a bittersweet day.   Sad that it’s almost over.   But ecstatic to use the showers at the marina!

We walked over to Red Rock for an amazing dinner.   A perfect last supper for a fantastic trip.  So many great memories and experiences.   As always, I already can’t wait to come back.

April 6 – Staying put.

Sunday, April 6.

After the marathon day we had yesterday, we’re taking it easy today.   We all dinghied over to Cistern Point and snorkeled for quite a while.

More swimming with the fishies.

More swimming with the fishies.

Between Cistern Point and our boat, a turtle was hanging out.  He was one cool dude – he didn’t mind that we floated close by to watch him for quite a while.   These are the best pictures I’ve gotten of a turtle of all my Caribbean trips.  I like how the colors get clearer and more vibrant as he gets closer to the surface.

Turtle dude surfacing - 1

Turtle dude surfacing – 1

Turtle dude surfacing - 2

Turtle dude surfacing – 2

Turtle dude surfacing - 3

Turtle dude surfacing – 3

The guys are headed back to Jost again today.   Tan-a-na’s crew leaves early tomorrow morning, so they are headed back to Tortola to spend the night at the marina.  After lunch we shopped ashore and enjoyed people/boat watching all afternoon, before hitting happy hour again on Cooper.

Cooper Island palms.

Cooper Island palms.

For sunset, we dinghied out to the mouth of the bay, beyond the anchorage, to get an unobstructed view of the sun setting over Tortola.

Sunset behind Tortola - viewed from Cooper Island

Sunset behind Tortola – viewed from Cooper Island

 

April 5 – A long day.

Saturday, April 5.

We headed out early this morning, by 7:30AM.   Winds are still 20+ knots.  3-5′ seas, very rough.  Luckily the rain seems to have passed.  We sailed it to Soper’s Hole, to go through BVI Customs & Immigration again.  We picked up a few more provisions there, but quickly headed back out to make Cooper Island by sunset, and join up again with Maggie and Tan-a-na.

The BVI Spring Regatta is in full swing this week.  We got a front-row seat of some of the races as we cruised across the channel to Cooper Island.

IMG_2949

We pulled into Machioneel Bay at 4pm, at exactly the same time Maggie did.  After a quick dip we all met up at the Cooper Island Beach Club for Happy Hour and dinner.  It’s good to have the gang back together.

Cooper Island has the best sunsets…..

CooperHappyHour

I ♥ Cooper.

 

April 3 – New day, new country.

Thursday, April 3.

This morning we topped up the water tank, got some ice and emergency provisions (i.e., Dove Bars) before heading out from Great Harbour.

Dove Bar wisdom.

Dove Bar wisdom.

Destination:  St. John’s of the U.S. Virgin Islands.  Since we’ll be leaving BVI and entering USVI, we have to visit Customs & Immigration to check out before leaving here, and check in at Cruz Bay once arriving in St. Johns.   This is our first time to go to USVI by boat from BVI and deal with the Customs/Immigration thing.   I’ll let you know later if it’s worth it.

IMG_2844

We didn’t go ashore in Cruz Bay other than to clear customs.   We caught a ball in Caneel Bay and ate lunch, then waited through some rain showers for the other 2 boats’ crews to come back to make a plan for the night.   The original plan was to stay in Leinster Bay on the north side of St. John’s.  But we’re getting intermittent rain stroms, and the wind is really kicking up now.  So, the NE swells would make for a very rough mooring.  Instead, Monte suggested Lameshur Bay on the south side of the island.   Maggie stayed in Caneel Bay, since they were unable to anchor if it turned out they didn’t get a mooring ball.   But Tan-a-Na and Jim’s Dream decided to make a run through the rain for a very remote and unspoiled Great Lameshur Bay, and got two of the last remaining mooring balls in time to watch a beautiful sunset.

A rain shower in the distance, from Lameshur Bay.

A rain shower in the distance, from Lameshur Bay.

Sunset over Great Lameshur Bay, St. John's, USVI

Sunset over Great Lameshur Bay, St. John’s, USVI

 

Faces in open places.

The weather this winter has been a roller coaster of sunny-and-70s then sleet-and-20s-and-30s. About three or four turns so far and one more on the way tomorrow. It was a beautiful day today, so I threw open the windows and took a walk through the greenbelt.
Along the way I came across this rock and saw a face in it (sort of). If i squint a bit i think i can make out Jay Leno…

20140209-193519.jpg

Viva amigas!

I went out to dinner tonight with a bunch of my girls.   We went to one of a kind Rainey Street in Austin – my first time there.   I had a wonderful time.  We ate at NO VA Kitchen & Bar.   The food was delicious.  Their white sangria is amazing.   The service was great.   I highly recommend it.   Afterwards we hopped around to a few other places and enjoyed sitting outside on the patio, with the sky flashing with the lightning of the cold front approaching from the northwest.

A cool light fixture above our table at NO VA:

131121

And a shot of part of their menu.   The ingredients listed for their white sangria include:  armagnac / aged rum / spiced pear / sage / vino blanco

delish!

1311211